Home » Support » Immigration: FAQs

The following information was prepared by a licensed immigration professional in compliance with section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).  Session. Immigration information may change without notice and it is your responsibility to refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the most up-to-date information and to be sure you meet the eligibility criteria. IRCC is the authoritative source for immigration legislation, policies, instructions and information.

Initial Study Permit and Entry Visa/eTA

A study permit is required for any program that is over 6 months. The process can be quite lengthy, so you should start your application as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance.

If you are taking an ESL program as a pre-requisite to a degree program at York, you should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada even if your ESL program is 6 months or less.

You will also need a visa or eTA to come to Canada. When you apply for your study permit from outside Canada, you will be issued a visa/eTA if your study permit is approved.

A study permit is a document that allows you to stay and study in Canada. You may also be eligible to work under the conditions of your study permit. A visa/eTA is a travel document. You must have a valid visa/eTA to be able to enter Canada.

This depends on your country of citizenship. Find out if you need a visa.

Please visit the following websites to learn about visas, study permits and how to apply:

Should you have specific questions, you can attend an information session provided by York International

To avoid study permit delays, we recommend you apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance to the School of Continuing Studies. Unfortunately, it is not possible to expedite applications to IRCC. If your application has already exceeded the normal processing times, you may request an update on your application by submitting an IRCC webform.

As of October 1, 2022, Canada has removed all COVID-19 border requirements, including vaccination, testing and quarantine/isolation. 

Prepare all the paperwork required to come to Canada. Please see York International’s document overview and pre-arrival webinars for details. Ensure your program fees are paid in full. Please also refer to the IRCC’s Prepare for Arrival information regarding how early you can arrive and what to expect at the border.

We understand that there have been significant delays in visa and study permit applications. It is important to make a decision that works for you and meets all the policy deadlines. 

  • You may request to defer your enrollment to the next available intake by completing the Deferral Form. This must be done as soon as possible and before the program starts (see The School of Continuing Studies’ policies). As there is no guarantee that space will be available in the next intake, please submit your deferral request as soon as possible. There are no refunds or funds exchange during the deferral process. Please note that deferral requests are not accepted via email.     
  • You may request to withdraw your enrollment by completing the Withdrawal Form. To receive a full refund of tuition paid (less the deposit), you must withdraw before the start date of the program. After the start date of the program, no payments will be refunded. The date on which you withdraw from the program through the form submission, is the effective date used for determining refunds.  Please note that deferral requests are not accepted via email.     

Please note that if you defer your enrolment, you should notify IRCC if possible. See York International’s study permit delay FAQ for information on notifying IRCC of a deferral. 

Working On/Off Campus
As a study permit holder, your priority must be on succeeding in your courses. However, if you are eligible and able to manage your time well, you may also work either on campus, off campus or both.

To be eligible to work on campus, you must be in a full-time program, have a valid study permit that allows you to work on-campus and/or off-campus and have a valid Social Insurance Number. To work off campus, you must meet all of these requirements plus be in a program that is at least 6 months long and leads to a certificate, degree or diploma. You cannot start working until your program has started. It is your responsibility to make sure you do not exceed the limit to the number of hours you can work.

The number of hours is calculated by week. For example, if your work week starts on Monday, you should consistently count your hours from Monday to Sunday in figuring out how many hours you worked. If you work fewer hours one week, this does not entitle you to extra working hours the next. The maximums are always per calendar week. It is your responsibility to make sure you do not exceed the limit to the number of hours you can work.

There is no limit to on-campus work for eligible students.

For off-campus work, you may normally work a maximum of 20 hours per week. There are a couple of situations where you may be eligible to exceed this limit.

  • During an academic break: You may work full-time off campus during an academic break if you were a full-time student before the break and you are returning to full-time studies during the break. At the School of Continuing Studies, academic breaks include: Winter closure of York University, reading weeks and the break that is common to all students in your program between courses.
  • Temporary lift: IRCC announced on October 7, 2022 that some students would be eligible to work full-time off campus starting November 15, 2022.  Take York International’s eligibility quiz to find out if you can benefit from this temporary policy change.

On-campus work is any employment facility located within the campus boundaries of York University, including both the Keele and Glendon campuses. The employer can be York University, any Faculty, a student organization, a private business (including the restaurants located on the York campus), or a private contractor providing services to York University on campus. Self-employment taking place on campus is also considered on-campus work.

There is no fee for a SIN. You can apply in person at a Service Canada Centre or you can apply online. You will need your study permit with the condition that you “may accept employment” or “may work” as well as your passport. If you are applying in person, you must bring the original documents. To apply online or find your nearest Services Canada Centre, see apply for a SIN.

If you’re starting a new program, you can work full-time if you meet all of the criteria below:

  • You were eligible to work off-campus in your previous program,
  • You have a valid study permit (or applied to extend it before it expired),
  • You have written confirmation that you completed your previous program,
  • You have a letter of acceptance to a new full-time program at York or another DLI, and
  • You are starting your new program within 150 days of receiving confirmation of completing your previous program.

Extending your Study Permit and Visa
If you need more time on your study permit to finish your program or to obtain the documents you need for a PGWP application (bridging extension), you should apply to extend your study permit. We recommend you apply to extend your study permit 3 months in advance. As long as you apply to extend your study permit before its expiry, you will have “maintained status” until a decision is made on your application. This means you can continue to study (and work) under the conditions of your study permit while you wait for a decision.

When you are inside Canada, it is a two-step process to get a new study permit and visa. You must apply to extend your study permit first. Once you have the new study permit, you can apply for a visa in much the same way.

NOTE: IRCC will not issue documents beyond your passport validity. If your passport is expiring, we recommend you renew it 6 months in advance if possible. You will need to contact your nearest consulate/embassy to find out how to renew your passport.

For a study permit extension, you need a letter of enrolment. For the visa, you will also need a transcript (grade report). Both documents can be obtained through your Student Portal.

For guidance on how to set up an IRCC online account and complete your study permit extension application, please refer to York International’s immigration application resources. Please note that certain slides pertain specifically to degree-seeking undergraduate students and not School of Continuing Studies students.

York International hosts regular study permit extension workshops. Before attending, you should review the application resources above. Check the York International Events Calendar for the next session.

The visa application is much the same as the study permit extension process. With two main differences:

  • For the first set of questions, select the option to “study” for “temporarily – more than 6 months” (if you choose “visit” it will generate the wrong document checklist).
  • When you get to the “Your results” page in the IRCC online application system, you will choose “Temporary Resident Visa” instead of selecting “Study Permit (in Canada).”
  • The document checklist will have the IMM 5257 form and you will be required to provide a transcript.

You can use the same documents you used for your study permit extension application when you are applying for your visa.

We do not recommend you travel while you have an application in process.

Your study permit remains valid if you will start the new (second) program within 150 days of completing the first program. If you need a take a break of longer than 150 days, you must either change your status to visitor or leave Canada.

If your break is 150 days or less, you may be eligible to work between your 2 programs. See more on this under the section Working on/off Campus.

Post-Graduation Work Permit
After you have graduated, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. This work permit is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to get some Canadian work experience. It may also provide you with the opportunity to gain the work experience required for permanent residency in Canada.

The length of your PGWP depends on your program length. If your program is between 8 months and 2 years long, you would be eligible for a PGWP of up to the same length. If your program is 2 years or longer, you would be eligible for up to 3 years of PGWP.

All full-time certificate programs at York’s School of Continuing Studies are PGWP-eligible if they are at least 8 months long.

The final decision on the length of your PGWP is at the discretion of IRCC. PGWP are issued up to the length of the program. Students in a program that can be completed in 8 months with no academic break may be considered to have completed the equivalent of a 1-year program.

Yes. If you complete two programs within 2 years of each other and both programs are PGWP-eligible, you can apply for a PGWP based on both programs. The length of your PGWP will depend on the combined length of your programs. For example, if you take 2 one-year programs, you would be eligible for a PGWP of up to 3 years.

You need your final transcript (grade report) and letter of completion. You can access these in your Student Portal by following these steps:

  1. Sign into your School of Continuing Studies Student Portal
  2. Find the “Request Official Documents” tab  
  3. Select the letters and programs you are requesting (please note that only the letters you qualify for requesting will appear). Letters will be emailed to you within 24 hours. 

For guidance on how to set up an IRCC online account and complete your PGWP application, please refer to York International’s immigration application resources. Please note that certain slides pertain specifically to undergraduate students.

York International hosts workshops on applying for PGWP at the beginning of each term. Before attending you should review the application resources above. Check the York International Events Calendar for the next session.

You can leave Canada and return, as long as your visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is still valid. Your permit (study or work) is not a visa and doesn’t allow you to travel back to Canada.

If your visa or eTA is expired, you have to get a new one before you return to Canada.

When you return to Canada:

  • You may enter as a student if your study permit is still valid.
  • If your post-graduation work permit is approved while you’re away, you may enter as a worker.
  • If IRCC is still processing your post-graduation work permit, you may enter as a visitor, and you can work without a work permit until IRCC makes a decision on your application.

A border officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. The officer may ask you for proof that you applied for a post-graduation work permit, such as a copy of your application or the fee payment receipt.

If the officer believes there is reason to refuse your re-entry, you won’t be able to enter Canada.